Revelation Chapter Eight
I. Content of the Chapter
Opening the Seventh Seal
II. The first angel sounded (v.7)
III. The second angel sounded (v.8-9)
IV. The third angel sounded (v.10-11)
V. The fourth angel sounded (v.12-13)
II. Verse by Verse commentary
Rev. 8:1 “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”
YLT: “And when he openeth the seventh seal, there came silence in the heaven about half-an-hour,”
Meaning of Words: “silence”: quiet; “half an hour”: thirty minutes.
Literal Meaning: “When He opened the seventh seal,” “the seventh seal” is different from the other six seals (See 6) because it brought in the vision of the seven trumpets (See v.2, 6).
“There was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” “There was silence in heaven” means that great event is going to happen on the earth.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) How can men on the earth regard the thing that is waited and seen in the heavenly state common? Wish all men of God treat it serious.
2) The calm before the coming of wind and storm shows that the wind and storm is preparing. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape (1Thess. 5:3).
Rev. 8:2 “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.”
YLT: “and I saw the seven messengers who before God have stood, and there were given to them seven trumpets,”
Meaning of Words: “given”: provided (the passive voice).
Literal Meaning: “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God,” “who stand” shows that they have stood there to await orders.
“And to them were given seven trumpets.” “Seven trumpets” the seven seals are secret and the seven trumpets are open. Sounding trumpets refers to publicly declaring the things which shall be carried out.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The opening of the seventh seal (See v.1) brings in and accompanies the sounding of the seven trumpets. The seventh seal won’t be fully opened until all the seven trumpets have been sounded and therefore the contents in the sealed scroll (See 5:1) cannot be accomplished completely.
2) In the age of the Old Testament, trumpets were always used in the war (See Num. 10:1-10; 31:6; Hos. 5:8) and it shows that the spiritual and carnal, the supernatural and practical wars shall be carried out one by one with the sounding of the trumpets and the whole earth shall fall into the great disaster and disorder.
Rev. 8:3 “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
YLT: “and another messenger did come, and he stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given to him much perfume, that he may give to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar that before the throne,”
Meaning of Words: “offer”: add, give.
Literal Meaning: “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar.” “Another angel” refers to Christ who is the high priest in heaven (See Heb. 8:1). “A golden censer” is the vessel which carries the prayers of all the saints (See 5:8). The heavenly high priest makes intercession for us on one hand (See Heb. 7:25) and on the other, passes on and offers the prayers of all the saints. “The altar” refers to the altar of the burnt offering (See Exod. 27:1-8) which typifies the cross of Christ and the achievements of the cross make the prayers of all the saints be acceptable to God.
“He was given much incense,” “much incense” the incense itself is not the prayers of all the saints but the ingredient of death and resurrection which is added to the prayers (See the note in 5:8).
“That he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” “The prayers of all the saints” have been put in the golden censer previously. “The golden altar” refers to an altar to burn incense upon (See Exod. 30:1-9).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Nobody can offer prayer by himself unless he relies on the achievements of Christ’s cross. Our prayers won’t be acceptable to God unless the sweet savor of Christ is added to our prayers (See 2Cor. 2:15).
2) If the fire on the altar is not burnt, the prayers of all the Saints are the strange fire (See Lev. 10:1-2). There is not prayer without the cross.
3) The prayers of all the Saints must be presented to God with another angel, the golden censer, the altar, incense and the golden altar. The prayers of believers shall be burnt before God through the high priest, with the one mind of all the saints, by the achievements of the cross and with the ingredient of death and resurrection.
Rev. 8:4 “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.”
YLT: “and go up did the smoke of the perfumes to the prayers of the saints out of the hand of the messenger, before God;”
Meaning of Words: “ascend”: go up.
Literal Meaning: “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints,” “the smoke of the incense” refers to the smoke with the sweet savor when incense is burnt and it shows that the sweet savor of Christ has been added to the prayers (See 2Cor. 2:15).
“Ascended before God from the angel's hand.” “The angel’s hand” refers to through Christ who is the high priest. It refers to the smoke of the incense and the prayers of the saints.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Christ has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Eph. 5:2).
2) The prayers of the saints must be presented before the seven trumpets were sounded. Without prayers, there won’t be the sounding of the trumpets. Prayers pave the way for God’s actions on the earth. Everything in heaven is ready and waiting for the cooperation of the prayers of the church on the earth.
Rev. 8:5 “Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.”
YLT: “and the messenger took the censer, and did fill it out of the fire of the altar, and did cast to the earth, and there came voices, and thunders, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”
Meaning of Words: “fill”: be full; “throw”: cast.
Spiritual Meaning: “Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth.” It shows that the prayers of all the saints have been answered and God’s judgment shall be executed on the earth.
“And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.” They typify God’s judgment of wrath.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The contents of the prayers of all the saints can be known from God’s answer to the prayers----they ask God to execute the judgment on the earth as soon as possible to avenge them (See 6:9-10; Luke. 18:7-8).
2) Actually, the real intention of believers’ prayers is not asking God to avenge them selfishly but pushing for the early coming of the kingdom of God, that the will of God shall be done in earth, as it is in heaven (See Matt. 6:10). It is the responsibility which God has entrusted to the church.
Rev. 8:6 “So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
YLT: “And the seven messengers who are having the seven trumpets did prepare themselves that they may sound;”
Meaning of Words: “prepare”: make ready; “sound”: sound a trumpet.
Literal Meaning: “prepared themselves to sound” refers to waiting for the word of command.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Believers’ prayers on the earth are inquired to carry out of the will of God in heaven.
2) The host of heaven is ready, have the saints on the earth prepared?
Rev. 8:7 “The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.”
YLT: “and the first messenger did sound, and there came hail and fire, mingled with blood, and it was cast to the land, and the third of the trees was burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up.”
Meaning of Words: “mingle”: mix; “were burned up”: be burned utterly; “green”: dark green.
Literal Meaning: “The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth.” “Hail and fire” is similar to the seventh disaster that God brought to the Egyptians (See Exod. 9:22-26). “Mingled with blood” is like the prophecy of Joel (Joel 2:31; Acts. 2:19).
“And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.” The woes from the first to the fourth began with the nature which was closely related to the life of men. Certainly many people died because of them (See v.11), however, men themselves were not the main targets, showing that God still hoped men to repent.
“All green grass” should refer to a third of the green grass on the earth (See 9:4).
Some Bible exegetes, according to their imagination, described the condition of the fist woe and here it was recorded for reference: the living environment of the earth had great change which caused the unusual reaction of the atmosphere----a third of the regions were unusually dry and hot and the unprecedentedly horrible storms which were made in some deserts blew sands into the sky. The sands became great hail when they cooled and they dropped with the red-yellow color, like fire mingled with blood. Because of the dry weather and thunder, the big fire was made and the fire burned a third of the land and the trees and grass on it.
Rev. 8:8 “Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.”
YLT: “And the second messenger did sound, and as it were a great mountain with fire burning was cast into the sea, and the third of the sea became blood,”
Meaning of Words: “burning”: fire burning (the passive voice).
Literal Meaning: it is another kind of unusual supernatural woe, according to the imagination of the Bible exegetes, it probably is that: the large-scale volcanoes broke out in the bottom of the sea or the land close to the sea and they spurted out the great rock in the layer into the sky with lava which dropped down into the sea later, like a great mountain burning with fire. And it caused the damage of a third of the sea and the ships in it and the dead creatures dyed the seawater red.
Rev. 8:9 “And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”
YLT: “and die did the third of the creatures that in the sea, those having life, and the third of the ships were destroyed.”
Meaning of Words: “destroy”: damage, devastate.
Literal Meaning: this woe also greatly influenced the existence of men.
Rev. 8:10 “Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.”
YLT: “And the third messenger did sound, and there fell out of the heaven a great star, burning as a lamp, and it did fall upon the third of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters,”
Literal Meaning: this woe probably is that: a heavenly body deviated from its orbit, exploded, broke down in the outer space near the earth and lacerated the atmospheric layer encircling the earth, like the burning torches. The great remainder dropped upon the regions of mountains and springs of water, that a third of the rivers and the springs of water were damaged.
Rev. 8:11 “The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.”
YLT: “and the name of the star is called Wormwood, and the third of the waters doth become wormwood, and many of the men did die of the waters, because they were made bitter.”
Meaning of Words: “wormwood”: bitter wormwood; “made bitter”: be bitter (the passive voice).
Literal Meaning: the physical elements of the star probably contain bitter poison which could make water bitter and poison men to death.
Rev. 8:12 “Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”
YLT: “And the fourth messenger did sound, and smitten was the third of the sun, and the third of the moon, and the third of the stars, that darkened may be the third of them, and that the day may not shine -- the third of it, and the night in like manner.”
Meaning of Words: “was struck”: smite, destroy (the passive voice).
Literal Meaning: the reasonable speculation concerning this woe should be that: the atmospheric layer was damaged greatly that the strong dust and smoke filled the air, the sun cannot be seen during the day and the moon and stars cannot be seen at night in the third of the ground.
However, since it is clearly mentioned in the Bible that the heavenly bodies were struck, it is hard to imagine how the right conditions are.
Rev. 8:13 “And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!’”
YLT: “And I saw, and I heard one messenger, flying in the mid-heaven, saying with a great voice, `Wo, wo, wo, to those dwelling upon the land from the rest of the voices of the trumpet of the three messengers who are about to sound.'”
Meaning of Words: “are about to”: be going to; “inhabitants”: dwell.
Literal Meaning: “And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven,” “angel” is “eagle” in the Chinese Union Version and “eagle” in the Bible also represents the judgment of God (See Matt. 24:28).
“Saying with a loud voice…because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!’” it refers to the remaining fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets.
“‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth” It implies that the remaining three trumpets shall directly bring woes towards men. In the previous four trumpets men themselves were not the main targets of woes.
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
God’s Will in the Previous Four Woes
II. God takes actions according to the prayers of His people (v.5-6).
III. God still faithfully keeps His promise that He won’t destroy the whole land by flood----in the previous three times He judged by fire (v.7-11).
IV. God’s judgment is still kind in severeness----He began to execute the judgment from men’s living environment and it implies warming (v.7-12).
V. God implies that through the precious four woes (v.7-12):
A. the world should not ignore the salvation that the Son of God shed His “blood” and suffered “bitterness”.
B. believers should not ignore their mission of being “light” on the earth.
VI. Before God carried out the following three woes, He still warmed men and hoped them to be willing to repent (v.13).
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Sharon Ren